Hidden Stories: Illuminating the Marginalized in Historical Fiction | Mechanics' Institute

You are here

Hidden Stories: Illuminating the Marginalized in Historical Fiction
moderated by Gini Grossenbacher

This event is produced in collaboration with the Womens' National Book Association, San Francisco Chapter. It will be conducted via Zoom. Register and you will be emailed the Zoom credentials.

“Story is about what happens internally, not externally...The protagonist’s internal struggle is the story’s third rail, the live wire that sparks our interest and drives the story forward.” Lisa Cron, Story Genius.
Join us for a compelling panel discussion with four noted historical fiction authors who give voice to the long-silent, marginalized peoples lost in the shadowy past. Learn how the writers create fresh, authentic tales that mesmerize readers, engage their curiosity and give them in-depth historical understanding never gained in school. These narratives transform readers’ hearts and minds about the unsung peoples of history. Each author will share their wisdom, tips, and techniques for conjuring historical persons and their struggles. Writers may adapt these approaches to any genre that seeks to spark interest in the marginalized of the past, present, or future.

Panel members include:
Award-winning author and Pushcart Prize nominee Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte is an Oakland multidisciplinary writer whose autobiographical and fictional short story collections, along with her lyrical and stunning poetry, artfully convey deeper meanings about race and economics.  Her writing has been described as “rich in vivid imagery,” “incredible,” and “great contributions” to literature. Her first novel, Betrayal on the Bayou, was published in June 2020, and she has written a poetry collection with her daughter Dr. Angela M. Boutte, titled No Poetry No Peace, published in August 2020.  Her novel in progress’ first chapter, “The Burden Keeper,” was the 2021 fiction category winner for the San Francisco Writers Conference writing contest anthology. An inaugural Oakland Poet Laureate runner-up, she is also a popular literary reader, presenter, storyteller, curator, and emcee for local events. She is an inaugural Oakland Poet Laureate runner-up and a popular literary reader, presenter, storyteller, curator, and emcee for local events. Find out more at www.sheryljbize-boutte.com.

Diana Giovinazzo is the critically claimed author of The Woman in Red and Antoinette’s Sister. She is the co-creator of the weekly literary podcast, Wine, Women and Words, featuring interviews with authors over a glass of wine. She is also the past president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association. Diana lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and their small menagerie.

A native Marylander, Connie Matsumoto empty-nests in Greenville, Delaware with her husband, Kent, and their adorable Westie. She is a former corporate devotee who later explored her interior design passion and embraced the art and rigor of creative writing. Connie earned her B.A. from Notre Dame of Maryland University and M.S. in Business from Johns Hopkins University. She is a member of the Eastern Shore Writers’ Association, Historical Novel Society, and Women’s National Book Association-Philadelphia Chapter, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Maryland Writers’ Association as Communications Chair and as Past-President of the Baltimore Chapter. Her upcoming debut novel, Of White Ashes (Apprentice House Press, May 2023), was co-authored with Kent and inspired by the true stories of their family. Of White Ashes crosses oceans and cultures, illuminating the remarkable lives of ordinary people who endure seemingly unbearable hardship with dignity and patience. Their experiences compel us to reflect on the resilience of humanity and the risk of history repeating. Find out more at https://www.matsumotobooks.com

Mary Volmer is the author of two novels: Crown of Dust (Soho Press, 2010) and Reliance, Illinois (Soho Press, 2016). Her essays, reviews, and short stories have appeared in various publications, including Mutha Magazine, the Farallon Review, Women’s Basketball Magazine, Fiction Writers Review, Historical Novel Society Review, The New Orleans Review, Brevity, and Ploughshares. After earning a master’s degree at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, where she was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, she earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s College (CA).  She has been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and Hedgebrook and was the spring 2015 Distinguished Visiting Writer in Residence at Saint Mary’s College (CA), where she now teaches. Find out more at www.maryvolmer.com

Gini Grossenbacher, M.Ed. will moderate the event. She is a retired veteran English teacher, poet, and accomplished historical fiction author whose Independent Publisher silver medal American Madams series focuses on the hidden histories of three marginalized gold-rush era madams spanning Baltimore, New Orleans, San Francisco, China, and France. As well as managing her writing cohort, Elk Grove Writers and Artists, Gini is launching her first free-verse poetry collection, Glimpses, on October 9, 2022. She is also an editor certified from U.C. San Diego and resides in Elk Grove, California. Gini served as past vice-president, membership, for the California Writers Club, Sacramento, and was awarded the Jack London award for service to that organization. She is an active member of the Historical Novel Society and a book reviewer for Historical Novel Society Magazine. She has been a member of WNBA-San Francisco since 2021. Find her at www.ginigrossenbacher.com         



Support This Event
Register now ›
Offsite: See description for location
Information Desk - 415-393-0102
Register now by using the form below or calling 415-393-0101.

Future Activities

Dec 1 - 5:00 pm

Monthly Chess Social
Join the Chess Room for Chess Socials on the first Friday of each month

Dec 8 - 5:00 pm

Writers Read!
Join us for an intimate evening of readings featuring members from our writers' groups at Mechanics' Institute.

Dec 14 - 5:30 pm

Mechanics' Institute Members' Holiday Gathering
Onsite at Mechanics' Institute!